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Is Leeds new Cumulative Impact Policy the way forward?

Leeds were one of the first Authorities to put a cumulative impact policy into their statement of licensing policy. Initially this was just for the City Centre but we then saw various other suburban areas have policies of their own. These areas were assessed as having come under stress from the number of alcohol outlets and robust policies were developed for these areas outside of the City Centre after the full and proper consultation exercises were undertaken.

It is the City Centre policy which is the most unusual. This has changed throughout time to its current iteration. What makes the CIP even more interesting is that the statement of licensing policy only needs to be reviewed every 5 years and so Leeds City Council have decided to bring out an annual update for the City Centre CIP as the pace of change in the licensing landscape is huge, with major developments being undertaken and the City Centre changing substantially.

The new policy can be found via this link:

It makes interesting reading. The City Centre is categorised into three colour-coded zones, red, amber and green.


The policy states that the council will seek to refuse all applications in these red areas on the basis that the impact on the licensing objectives is at such a level that the area cannot support any more premises opening or extending their hours and that the council will only grant applications in the red zone in exceptional cases, and those exceptional cases would be where the premises can demonstrate that they will not impact on the issues already being experienced in the area.


Here, the policy reads as follows: “The amber area is an area which is of concern based upon an analysis of issues within the night time economy that are relevant to the licensing objectives, and the council will expect applicants to offer additional measures tailored to the problems in that area.”


This is what the policy says about the green area: “All other areas within the city centre CIP will be designated green areas where good quality applications will be generally be more acceptable even though the area is a CIP area.”

In summary the policy states:

“It is the council’s policy, on receipt of relevant representations, to

• refuse new and variation applications in the red area

• to seek additional measures for new and variation applications in the amber area

• To seek good quality applications for application in the green area.

This applies to alcohol led premises such as bars, pubs and nightclubs, and for premises seeking late night refreshment such as takeaways and late opening restaurants.”

It is an interesting way forward, another way would to have been to take everything other than the red zone out of the Cumulative Impact Policy.

We receive a huge amount of instructions to look at new sites/extension to licences for sites/removal of conditions within the CIP and regularly advise clients not to apply, if we cant see a genuine exception to the policy in what the applicant is looking for. However, we have also advised successfully on a number of applications in all areas of the City Centre. The policy mentions an application in the red zone. “A third application for the grant of a new premises licence proposed an early closing time, full food menu and an emphasis on music concurrent with their retail business. This was/was not considered an exceptional application and was granted/refused. (the outcome of this application will be updated after the hearing).” I am pleased to report that we were successful with this application which shows that the policy will not look to supress genuine applications which are exceptional and will not add to the issues of cumulative impact of licensed premises.